How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Thompson Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Thompson CT. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Thompson residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Thompson CT, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Thompson CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Thompson CT area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Thompson CT schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Thompson CT schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Thompson CT schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Thompson CT schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Connecticut, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Thompson CT school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Thompson CT employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Thompson CT area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Thompson CT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Thompson Connecticut area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Thompson is a rural town in Windham County, Connecticut, United States. The town was named after Sir Robert Thompson, an English landholder. The population was 9,458 at the 2010 census. Thompson is located in the northeastern corner of the state and is bordered on the north by Webster, Massachusetts and Dudley, Massachusetts, on the east by Douglas, Massachusetts and Burrillville, Rhode Island, on the west by Woodstock, Connecticut, and on the south by Putnam, Connecticut.
Thompson has the highest-banked race track (Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, a 5/8 mile oval and a restored 1.7 mile road course) in New England. This speedway holds one of the biggest race programs in New England, The World Series of Auto Racing, where 16 divisions and about 400 cars show up each fall. Another claim to fame is that the Tri-State Marker is located just on the border of Thompson. The term "Swamp Yankee" is thought to have originated in Thompson during the American Revolution in 1776.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 48.7 square miles (126 km2), of which 46.9 square miles (121 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), or 3.51%, is water. Thompson possesses many small ponds, such as Little Pond and Long Pond, as well as two principal lakes: West Thompson Lake and Quaddick Reservoir. Contained within its borders are several moderately sized rivers, including the French River and Five Mile River, both tributaries of the Quinebaug River, which also runs through Thompson. One of the highest points in Thompson and the surrounding villages is Fort Hill at 649 feet (198 m) above sea level. The city is located 64 miles southwest of Boston and 110 miles northeast of Bridgeport. It is on the 41st parallel north, putting it on the same latitude as Lake Ohrid in Albania.
CDL School Near Me Thompson CT
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL School Near Me. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Thompson CT.
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